Georgia HS Football Hall to announce first 32 on ballot, 9 automatic inductees, during televised jamboree

Among the three initial players on the new Georgia High School Football Association's ballot are (left to right) Clint Castleberry of Boys' High of Atlanta, Eric Zeier of Marietta and Eric Berry of Creekside.

Credit: Special to the AJC

Combined ShapeCaption
Among the three initial players on the new Georgia High School Football Association's ballot are (left to right) Clint Castleberry of Boys' High of Atlanta, Eric Zeier of Marietta and Eric Berry of Creekside.

Credit: Special to the AJC

The Georgia High School Football Hall of Fame on Thursday released the names of 32 players who will be part of a 100-player ballot for the hall’s inaugural class this fall and announced nine players as automatic inductees.

The nine are those former Georgia high school football players who have made the Pro Football Hall of Fame. They are Calvin Johnson of Sandy Creek, Champ Bailey of Charlton County, Ray Guy of Thomson, Fran Tarkenton of Athens, Mel Blount of Lyons Industrial, Shannon Sharpe of Glennville, Richard Dent of Murphy (Atlanta), Rayfield Wright of Fairmont (Griffin) and Jim Parker of Ballard-Hudson (Macon).

The 32 named to the first ballot, which will expand to 100 next month, paint a cross section of stars from leather-helmeted Clint Castleberry before World War II to Eric Berry of the modern era. They also include Heisman Trophy winners George Rogers, Herschel Walker and Charlie Ward.

The 32 will be showcased Thursday night during Peachtree TV’s telecast of a football jamboree at North Gwinnett High School beginning at 6 p.m.

Guests on the show will include Herschel Walker, Bill Curry, Rennie Curran and Hutson Mason, all among the 32.

The first 32 hold no advantage over those to be announced later, said I.J. Rosenberg, the executive director of the Georgia High School Football Hall of Fame. Rather, they serve to showcase the range and standard of accomplishment that will be represented on the full ballot.

“We are not saying these 32 players are the best among the nominees for the Hall of Fame,’’ said Rosenberg, whose company, Score Atlanta, is producing tonight’s telecast. “We feel like these 32 announced tonight are a good mixture of what to expect when we finalize the nominee list. Our plan is to have the final nominee list by the second week of June.’’

The Hall of Fame’s induction is set for Oct. 22 at the College Football Hall of Fame in downtown Atlanta.

The 32 included four players from eight eras.

Pre-1950

HB – Clint Castleberry, Boys (1941)

HB – Bob McWhorter, Gordon Institute (1911)

E – Vernon “Catfish” Smith, Lanier-Macon (1927)

E – George Maloof, Marist (1947)

1950s

B – Larry Morris, Decatur (1950)

L – Bill Curry, College Park (1959)

G/LB – Pat Dye, Richmond Academy (1956)

QB – Stan Gann, Northside-Atlanta (1957)

1960s

RB - Doyle Orange, Waycross (1969)

RB - Andy Johnson, Athens (1969)

L - Chip Kell, Avondale (1966)

L - Bill Stanfill, Cairo (1964)

Georgia Interscholastic Association (1948-69)

B – Emerson Boozer, Laney (1961)

QB – Jack Pitts, Trinity (1965)

WR/CB – Clarence Scott, Trinity (1966)

L – Otis Sistrunk, Spencer (1964)

1970s

RB - Herschel Walker, Johnson County (1979)

WR/TE - Stan Rome, Valdosta (1973)

RB - George Rogers, Duluth (1976)

LB - Lucius Sanford, West Fulton (1973)

1980s

RB - Garrison Hearst, Lincoln County (1989)

QB - Charlie Ward, Central-Thomasville (1987)

OL - John Davis, Gilmer (1982)

LB/DB - Pat Swilling, Stephens County (1981)

1990s

QB – Eric Zeier, Marietta (1990)

LB/TE - Takeo Spikes, Washington County (1994)

OL – Jeff Saturday, Shamrock (1992)

QB – Hines Ward, Forest Park (1993)

2000s

RB – Monte Williams, Commerce (2000)

QB/DB - Eric Berry, Creekside

QB – Hutson Mason, Lassiter (2009)

LB - Rennie Curran, Brookwood (2006)